Thomas Randrup Pedersen forsvarer sin ph.d.-afhandling ved Institut for Antropologi – Københavns Universitet

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Thomas Randrup Pedersen forsvarer sin ph.d.-afhandling ved Institut for Antropologi


Thomas Randrup Pedersen


"SOLDIERLY BECOMINGS: A Grunt Ethnography of Denmark’s New ‘Warrior Generation". Afhandlingen ligger til gennemsyn på Institut for Antropologi, lokale 16.1.50, kontakt Vicki Antosz.

Tid og sted

20. september 2017 kl. 14:00. Københavns Universitet, Center for Sundhed og Samfund, Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1353 København K, bygning 35, lokale 35.01.44. Indgang fra Gammeltoftgade. Forsvaret kan maksimalt vare 3 timer. Af hensyn til kandidaten lukkes dørene præcis. Efter forsvaret er Institut for Antropologi vært ved en reception i bygning 33, lokale 33.1.19.


  • Professor Henrik Vigh Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen (chair)
  • Professor C. Jason Throop UCLA, USA
  • Professor Anna Simons U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, USA


What if Danish soldiers are at heart neither the patriots nor the humanitarians that one might be led to believe by the dominant account of Denmark’s war in Afghanistan? What if, instead, Danish grunts, the low-ranking soldiers in the army’s combat arms, have turned to the distant Afghan ‘theatre of war’ in pursuit of becoming what they potentially could be: ‘true warriors’?

This dissertation explores anthropologically what is at stake, and with what consequences, when young Danish men and women take up the occupation of the professional soldier and deploy with expeditionary forces. Based on twelve months of fieldwork with Danish combat troops, mainly in Denmark but also in Afghanistan, the study offers an ethnographic account of post-9/11 soldiering within the context of Denmark’s recent revival as a warring nation.

The investigation seeks to throw fresh light on contemporary Danish soldiering through a perspective of ‘becoming’ – existentially, morally and socially speaking. The dissertation argues that soldiering can be understood as a continuous struggle for becoming a self in the image of the ‘virtuous warrior’ and shows that, while such struggle might be happily though temporarily fulfilled, it is often challenged from without as well as from within, easily becoming stuck, failing utterly or simply being abandoned.